Sunday, February 10, 2008

Biofuels Bad News

According to two studies published this week in Science, when all relevant factors are accounted for, biofuels produce more greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels. From Wired:
Biofuels seemed so promising at first -- what could be cleaner than running our cars and factories on plants? But early prognostications were a bit thin on details. They didn't always account for the energy that would be needed to grow, harvest and refine the fuels. Most importantly, they didn't consider that greenhouse gas-gobbling vegetation would need to be cleared for fuel crops -- or, if these were planted on existing pastures, that new fields would be cleared to make space for displaced food crops.

Put these factors in the equation, and biofuels don't do much good at all.

Let's wrench ourselves away from this course before more tax and private money is spent. Let's let our political leaders know that being green requires a little extra research into outcomes.

If I had to guess the future for fueling the vehicle you buy 15 years from now, I'd guess a plug-in hybrid that get the vast majority of its energy from a grid run on these new, ultra-cool maglev turbines. Of course, thin-film solar panels on your own house will also be part of the equation.
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